Thursday, June 5 – Bank Plans New Branch At Old Mall Site

OCEAN CITY – The Planning and Zoning Commission was presented this week with a site plan review of the proposed Susquehanna Bank project, a property rehabilitation the commission hopes will improve the overall look of the uptown mall parking lot.

The proposed 3,089-square-foot commercial building will sit on the west side of Coastal Highway, to the north of 94th Street and to the south of the Ocean Plaza Shopping Mall on 99th Street. The building that now stands vacant on the lot, and has for several years, once housed Popeye’s Restaurant.

Susquehanna Bank will be taking over the parcel, leasing the space but demolishing the current building and re-building, in an effort to improve the overall aesthetic appeal of the 94th Street parking lot.

The current building will be replaced with the bank building, essentially in the same footprint as the old, said Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith.

“They are also going to rehab the parking area around the bank and also create landscape and things of that nature,” said Smith, noting the improvement the plan aims to bring to the parcel.

Traffic will also be slightly improved said Smith.

“It’s a good presentation, probably much better than what Popeye’s had,” he said of the traffic flow.

Although signage was included in the site plan, Smith recommended that the commission include conditions requiring the applicant to return to the commission with any major signage changes.

The building that currently houses the bank, also located on 94th Street, will remain standing, said the applicant who reported that other users have already expressed an interest in leasing it.

Although the building will be rebuilt, there is little to no expansion occurring, said Smith. He also explained that the property would still be a part of the overall mall property and would be leased.

“This is going to be, hopefully, a great project down the road, this is a good first step,” said Commission member Peck Miller, referring to future hopes for redevelopment of the entire mall parcel.

The commission voted unanimously to approve the project on site plan review.

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